NEW YORK — Columbia softball head coach Jennifer Teague announced the program’s 2017-18 recruiting class on Friday. The Lions add four to the roster, welcoming Kiana McCaul, Madeline Meier, Max Ortega and Maria Pagane.
"We are super excited about the talent level of this incoming class,” said Teague, who enters her fourth season as Columbia’s head coach. “Added to an already great group of returners, we feel like this class will really add to the progress that this program has made in the past couple of years. All four players are extremely hard workers and want to win championships. They understand and are willing to go above and beyond to do exactly that.”
Kiana McCaul – C – R/R – Los Gatos, Calif. – Presentation High School
Kiana McCaul is one of two 2017-18 recruits from California. Hailing from the San Jose suburb of Los Gatos, McCaul was a four-year letterwinner playing catcher and third base at Presentation High School. As a freshman, she helped guide her team to both the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) and California Interscholastic Federation – Central Coast Section (CIF-CCS) championships. Presentation was also a WCAL finalist during McCaul’s sophomore and junior seasons. McCaul was a two-time All-WCAL selection, earning the honors as a junior and senior, while also being named Presentation High School MVP as a junior. McCaul served as Presentation’s team captain her senior season. The multi-sport student-athlete also participated in one year of crew and one year of field hockey.
Teague on McCaul: “Kiana is from Northern California and will add depth for us behind the plate as a catcher. She is also a utility player who can play other infield positions. We are excited about the combination.”
Madeline Meier – P – R/R – Kingwood, Texas – Kingwood High School
The lone pitcher in the recruiting class, Madeline Meier comes to Columbia after spending her junior and senior years competing for Kingwood High School in Kingwood, Texas. Meier helped Kingwood to district titles both seasons, as well as a runner-up finish in the 2016 regional final. After being selected Academic All-District and Honorable Mention All-District as a junior, Meier earned Second Team All-District honors to go with Academic All-District and Academic All-State accolades as a senior. She ranked fifth among her graduating class of 629, participating in National Honor Society and earning academic accolades including recognition as a National Merit Scholar and a nomination for the Physics K-Award as a senior. A former native of Newtown, Connecticut, Meier studied and competed for St. Joseph High School as a freshman and sophomore. St. Joseph combined to go 51-3 during Meier’s tenure, winning back-to-back Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) titles. The 2015 team also earned a runner-up finish in the Class M state championship.
Teague on Meier: “Madeline is originally from the Northeast but is coming to us from Texas. She is a polished pitcher who will add another element and look to our pitching staff. We are excited about her potential and competing in the Ivy League.”
Max Ortega – 3B/1B – R/R – Highland, Calif. – Citrus Valley High School
Southern California product Max Ortega heads across the country to the Big Apple after a successful four-year career at Citrus Valley High School, near her hometown of Highland. Ortega is a three-time First Team All-Citrus Belt League (CBL) selection and was also an All-CIF Honorable Mention as a sophomore in 2015. Her 2014 squad won the CIF championship. The two-year team captain batted .520 and slugged .946 this past season for the CV Blackhawks, earning two SoCal Prep Legends Girl Athlete of the Week nominations. Ortega comes from a softball family, with her sister, Sophia, playing four years at Bethune-Cookman and cousin, Danielle, playing four years at UNC Greensboro. Ortega also has another cousin who played at Cal Berkeley, while her uncle, David, and cousin, David Jr., each played football for the Bears. Academically, Ortega was a member of CV’s Principal’s Honor Roll and National Honor Society, while also being a member of the California Scholarship Federation and the National Society of High School Scholars.
Teague on Ortega: “Max is a feisty defender and power hitter out of southern California. She is going to add depth on our infield and is anticipated to highly contribute to our offensive efforts. Max also brings a very competitive spirit that we think will help elevate this program.”
Maria Pagane – INF – R/R – Windermere, Fla. – Bishop Moore Catholic High School
A utility infielder from the Orlando suburb of Windermere, Florida, Maria Pagane heads up the East Coast as a four-year letterwinner out of Bishop Moore Catholic High School. The senior captain led Bishop Moore to a second consecutive district title this past season, following a 2016 season in which the Hornets posted a record of 25-3. That year, Pagane was an all-district and Second Team All-Central Florida selection, batting .556 with an on-base percentage of .613, six home runs and 40 RBIs. Pagane also showcased her talents defensively and in the circle, setting Bishop Moore’s record for career wins during her senior campaign. On the academic side, she participated in the National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society and National Latin Honor Society, was an AP Scholar with distinction and was part of the 2016 Quiz Bowl Catholic Challenge Champion.
Teague on Pagane: “Maria is coming from a competitive travel team and successful high school career out of central Florida. She is going to help us tremendously on defense and will add to our already potent offense. She is going to be fun to watch.”